Saturday, January 21, 2012

Introducing Karen Bell

There are so many good authors popping out of the woodwork.  Authors who would never be read if it wasn't for self-publishing and the whole Indie movement.  I love hosting Indie Authors on my blog and finding out how they got started on the rainbow-colored road to writing success.  Walking with Elephants is Karen Bell’s first novel.  Here is how she ended up on the rainbow road.
"I needed to be a writer. I had a conscious need but not the time when I was raising my kids, when they were babies. I tried to start a novel during naptime and sleeptime but I did not have the patience. I knew the patience to do it would come and eventually it did. After I graduated with a MS in mass communication and took a job as an editor, did I really believe I could be a writer. And that job actually gave me the inspiration for my debut novel, Walking with Elephants. There I was, living the fulfillment of the woman's movement. I was a working mother. Ah. The working part, although sometimes demanding was manageable for me, and living five minutes from home so was mothering. But then as my children got older, there was all the driving them everywhere. Picking up after a party when you have crashed and burned after a full day of work. Shopping for the holidays after work. Cleaning the house every weekend instead of doing something fun--or just not doing anything and relaxing.

Then I walked into the ladies room one day and saw a woman pumping her breast. This is wrong I thought. Somewhere a baby is crying. I was lucky. I stayed home with my babies, raised my babies. Went to work when they were older. I did some investigating and found out that there are countries where the mother gets one or two years maternity leave, not 4-6 weeks like this country. So I was inspired to write. But it took a very long time to finish the book--lots of starts and stops until I found my voice in the first person and interruptions called life.

I thought that writing the book was the hard part. But sadly, I was very, very wrong. Getting it published is almost insurmountable. This book beat out by years the books about the over worked mother in modern society. But no one would publish it until I found a small indie. After ten years of rejections someone said, yes. Then after one short year, the business closed. I took over as publisher because I couldn't find anyone who would pick it up and I didn't want to wait another ten years.

The publishing world has changed since I started writing. Self-publishling is now referred to as indie publishing to give it more status. And it has achieved more status. There are numerous ways an author can choose to do that.  But it is still a little daunting. Where and how to market? Where to advertise?
I spoke at a book club recently, and all the ladies loved, loved, loved the book. They say word of mouth is the best and yet even tough this handful think my writing is amazing, I'm still waiting for the book to go viral…and waiting.

So authors must have a thick skin. I keep telling myself that my new novel is excellent even though the rejections are rolling in. I am not defined by my rejections. But it is tough and I hate this part. In the back of my mind I know I could just publish it myself and bypass all of this misery and I probably will end up doing that. But right now I'm still sending out the queries. Luckily there is Smashwords and Kindle waiting in the wings.

Good luck to all you authors out there. Some of you might get wide acceptance right out of the gate--and that's the hook."

Karen S. Bell

Instead of forking out hard-earned cash for an over-priced ebook by a best-selling author, rather buy 3-4 ebooks by Indie Authors.  Here is the Synopsis for Walking with Elephants:
Suze Hall is at a crossroads. Her nemesis at work, Wanda, has been promoted and now will be her boss. Her husband, Bob, is leaving her and the three kids for a six-month sabbatical down under. To top it off, her best friend, Marcia, is missing in action--playing footsie with some new boyfriend!
Adding to this disaster stew, David, the gorgeous hunk who broke her young-girl's heart has coincidentally popped back into her life and has something she desperately needs to keep her job.
Walking with Elephants, a lighthearted slice-of-life story, brings to the table the serious work/family issues facing women today. It explores themoderndichotomyof aworkplace that is filled with homemakers who still must cook, clean, carpool on nights and weekends, shop for prom dresses, and "create" the holidays—such as Suze. But it also is filled with women who have the same drive as men, have no family responsibilities, and will do what ever it takes to get ahead. 
So step into the shoes of Suze Hall and commiserate over workplace politics, titillate your sexual fantasies, ride the wave of a working mother, and fall-down laughing.
The cover is a symbol of the message of empowerment of women. The protagonist, Suze, writes and essay at the end of the novel suggesting a paradigm shift from the patriarchal societies that have been in place for centuries to a matriarchy, such as is found in nature. Like elephants, hence the title.
 Reviewer said it's like Bridget Jones meets Erma Bombeck

You can find out more about Karen Bell on these websites.


Karen S. Bell said...

Thanks, Cindy for inviting me to guest post. KarenW h

BK said...

Great post Karen. I can't wait to read Walking with Elephants. Thank you so much for hosting today Cindy!


Meghan Fenn said...

This looks like an amazing book. Do I have permission to put some info about it on my blog? I think it would be of interest to my readers.

I am also a self-published author. My book is called Bringing Up Brits: Expat parents raising cross cultural kids in Britain and it is about the emotional and practical challenges of bringing up kids in a foreign country with a foreign husband/partner - all about cross-cultural relationships and family life. and my blog is

Please get in touch and let me know if I can shout about Walking with Elephants - and also about this blog too!

Cindy Vine said...

Meghan it would be great if you could spread the word about Karen's book!
Your book sounds very interesting and something I might check out for our school library!

Karen S. Bell said...

Megan, I would be pleased to have you spread the word. Very pleased indeed. Thanks, Karen

Meghan Fenn said...

Great! I'll run it this week - I'll let you know when it's up :-)

Meghan Fenn said...

I forgot to say that if you want a copy for your library just let me know!

Meghan Fenn said...

Hi Cindy and Karen, just to let you know, I have posted a blog about Walking with Elephants. Hope that helps to spread the word a bit!

Cindy Vine said...

Meghan you are a star!